It’s always shocking to see how quickly devices can charge, especially when you can get approximately 5 hours of listening time on your AirPods from just a few minutes of charging. It can be pretty confusing, and there’s plenty of speculation that it’s a sign of faulty AirPods. But is that the case? Why does AirPods charge so fast?
AirPods have a very fast charging time because it has a high-energy-density lithium-ion battery. The batteries are also small, so they can reach full capacity quickly, and the charging case is optimized to deliver the charge rapidly. Abnormal charging may indicate battery damage, though.
Apple spent plenty of time refining its charging systems and power efficiency. Like all things, Apple tries to ensure an optimal experience when you use your AirPods with their intended charger, and the quick charging time results from that. Let’s examine the factors determining how quickly your AirPods can charge.
Reasons Why AirPods Charge So Fast
Apple paid attention to every fine detail in the charging process of the AirPods’ batteries. Every component was chosen to maximize power efficiency and limit the required charging time.
The Battery Composition
The first crucial aspect is the type of battery that the AirPods uses. Each AirPod comes with a high-energy-density lithium-ion battery. This is important because lithium-ion can store higher volumes of energy in a much smaller package, which is why the battery is perfect for the AirPods.
The high density means that energy is able to enter the battery with less resistance, which in turn means that the battery can receive a higher current than what standard charging would allow, letting the battery charge much faster.
The Custom-Designed Charging Case
Apple designed the charging case for the AirPods specifically to charge them on the go. A big part of the consideration was to let them charge quickly so that you can keep using them without much interruption. There are two aspects to this.
- The charging case also contains a lithium-ion battery. This is beneficial because there’s no need to convert AC into DC since both batteries use and provide DC. This saves on charging time and wastes less power since the heat you feel emitting from regular charger bricks is a side-effect of wasted energy during AC/DC conversion.
- The charging case is optimized to deliver the higher currency that AirPods can handle, which is one of the benefits of using a device that was custom-designed to work with another. Apple could fine-tune the charging case to the point where it delivers precisely the correct current to charge the AirPods quickly.
The Size Of The Batteries
The AirPods’ small batteries also help to allow faster charging because they don’t take as long to charge up to total capacity. Larger batteries take longer to charge, even with fast charging technology. For example, iPhones and iPads also use lithium-ion batteries, but iPhones take much longer to charge than AirPods, and iPads take even longer.
The smaller a battery is, the less power it will hold, so less time is required to charge it.
But wouldn’t that also mean the batteries will run out of charge more quickly?
Yes. Let’s look into that.
Power-Efficiency And Faster Charging Times
People don’t realize how significant the factor of power efficiency is. Apple masterfully balances the charging times and battery capacities of its AirPods with their power efficiency, making a massive difference.
Considering how small the AirPods’ batteries are and how little charge they can hold compared to the batteries you find in devices like smartphones and tablets, AirPods must save energy where they can to keep them running as long as they do.
We can compare it to a glass of water. A small glass of water will fill up more quickly than a larger glass since the larger one has a higher maximum volume. But if an adult drinks water from the larger glass directly after a workout, it might be sufficient to quench their thirst, whereas the small glass will likely not.
On the other hand, if you were to give a smaller glass of water to a small child, it’s likely to be more than enough, while the larger glass might be too much water for them to drink.
The same applies to the AirPods’ charging. The small battery size means that it can charge much faster, while the tiny size of the AirPods, combined with the power efficiency that Apple built into them, means that even a small amount of charge is sufficient.
That doesn’t make the AirPods’ fast charging less impressive, though, and it’s still incredible how well Apple balances these different aspects.
What If My AirPods Charge Fast But Don’t Last Long?
Depending on the model and the features you use, you should be able to get approximately four to five hours of listening time from your AirPods on a single charge. With a fully-charged case, you should be able to charge them again to get up to approximately 30 hours of listening time in total.
There are two ways to know if your batteries are damaged or nearing their end of life:
- The AirPods charge quickly but don’t last as long as they should.
- The AirPods charge much more slowly than they should.
According to Apple, you can expect more or less the following charging times and usage from your AirPods:
- AirPods Generation 1 and 2:
- Fifteen minutes to charge the AirPods in the case to get 3 hours of listening time or 2 hours of talking time.
- Thirty minutes to an hour to charge AirPods to full inside the case.
- Up to approximately 5 hours of listening time and 3 hours of talking time on a single full charge.
- AirPods Pro Generation 1:
- Five minutes of charging inside the case to get approximately 1 hour of listening time.
- About 1 hour to get a full charge inside the case.
- Approximately 4.5 hours of listening time (depending on your use of ANC and transparency mode) on a single full charge.
- AirPods Pro Generation 2:
- Five minutes of charging in the case will give you approximately 1 hour of listening time.
- It takes about 1 hour to get a full charge inside the case.
- Depending on transparency mode and active noise canceling, you can now get approximately 5.5 hours from a single full charge.
- AirPods Generation 3:
- Five minutes of charging can get you up to 1 hour of listening time.
- It takes approximately 1 hour to charge your AirPods 3rd Gen to full in the case.
- With Spatial Audio enabled, a full charge can get you up to 6 hours of listening time.
If these are not close to the results you’re getting with your AirPods, there might be a problem with the batteries.
It’s pretty standard for AirPods to charge quickly. The composition and small size of the batteries, combined with the excellent design of the charging case and the power efficiency of AirPods, ensure that you can get optimal use from them with only a few minutes of charging. But if you’re not getting excellent battery life, it’s probably a sign that your AirPods’ batteries are dying.